London’s most influential restaurant group has defied the gloom in the consumer sector by investing in a new venue. Financial Times

D&D London, formerly the Conran group, has backed a venture by chef Anna Hansen, called Modern Pantry.

This is the first time that the group, which owns some of London’s most iconic restaurants such as Pont de la Tour, has backed an outside venture.

'This is an interesting model for us – acting as backer for great chefs – and if it takes off, I can see us doing more along these lines,' said Des Gunewardena, the chairman of D&D.

The restaurant in Clerkenwell should be open for business by summer 2008.